The land of the free, the home of the brave – and the country that speaks the same language as we do, yet has different names for things. ​God bless America – home of the button badge…

The Whitehead & Hoag Co.

​Back in 1892, two businessmen local to New Jersey, NY joined forces to create a manufacturing business specialising in promotional and advertising novelties. Benjamin Whitehead, who was a printer by trade and Chester Hoag, who was a paper and twine merchant.

Together, they formed Whitehead & Hoag Co. which was the first ever button manufacturer (or button badge as the British would call it) and remained the foremost throughout the early years of the industry.

You say pin badge, they say button

The Americans still refer to pin badges as buttons and ‘button badge’ is an amalgam of the two terms. Initially printing images and slogans on to cloth or paper and stretching the design over a tin back, the company would then use a revolutionary new material known as celluloid, stretched over the button to protect the design.

Their patented designs – clearly recognisable to the button badge that we all know, saw the business go from strength to strength. It was only the departing of first Hoag and then Whitehead that forced their families to sell to one of their main competitors, who eventually phased out the trading name by the mid 1960’s.

Button badges play their part in history

​In the 60 years that the company manufactured the button (badge), they saw two world wars – one of which they had a hand in manufacturing for, countless political campaigns – including presidential ones and the birth of free love and self expression. Needless to say, by the end of the companies reign, the button badge was an every day staple.

​Get in touch with Badge Base

​Next time we’ll be hopping across the pond and finding out how a particularly anarchic movement put pin badges on the map forever. Should you happen to be looking for further information about our button badges – whether in design, manufacture or both – contact one of our helpful team via the contacts section of our website, and we’d be glad to get back to you!